Whether you live in a house or an apartment, chances are from time-to-time you deal with squeaking or creaking floors, which is especially true in older homes and apartment buildings. You may also hear ambient sounds coming through the floor or ceiling from the rooms around you, and whether that noise is made by loved ones or complete strangers, it can be quite annoying and disruptive.
Luckily there are a number of ways you can muffle all of this noise. The methods and products available vary in cost and labor intensity, so it’s important you factor in all of your specifics so you can choose the right sound reducing solution for your particular situation.
Reducing Noise from the Apartment Above You
If you’ve spent any time living in an apartment with someone living above you, you know how maddening it can be to have to deal with heavy footsteps, loud music and things dropping. First rule, ask your upstairs neighbors politely if they would mind using a soundproofing floor mat or vibration pads underneath their area rugs. This can drown out a significant amount of noise, especially in the bedroom and living room areas.
If they seem resistant, offer to pay for the soundproofing pads. Yes, it will cost you upfront, but all of that quiet will be priceless.
Obviously this is a quick and easy way to soundproof in your own home as well and you don’t have to beg anyone to be cooperative.
Soundproofing Exercise Equipment
More and more people are opting to create a little home gym for the convenience of getting a good workout without having to schlep somewhere and sweat with a bunch of strangers. But equipment like treadmills and elliptical machines can cause a lot of floor vibrations and noise.
There are products that can help diminish the noise such as Elephant Bark Mats which can be purchased online and come in thicknesses ranging from 1/5 to 3/8 inches. The mats should be placed directly under the piece of equipment and in doing so will greatly reduce annoying noise and impact.
Consider Installing Underlayments
Although it takes a bit more effort, one surefire fix is to remove your current flooring and install a damping compound and resilient underlayment such as cork, foam or shredded rubber. Foam would be your least expensive choice followed by cork and then shredded rubber. The higher up in price you go, the better the material will be at blocking out noise and vibrations, so if you have the budget for it, go with shredded rubber.
As for damping compounds, the most common one used is called Green Glue which must be used between 2 hard surfaces and can typically be applied directly onto the existing subfloor layer.
Once everything is down, you can install your choice of finished flooring such as hardwood, bamboo or tile on top of the underlayment as a floating floor; that is do not attach it to the layer beneath with nails.
Having beautiful floors is wonderful; having a quiet house or apartment is so much better!